¿Por qué se dio la vuelta Putin?

PRINCETON – Se ha interpretado muy mal la política del Presidente de Rusia, Vladimir Putin, para con el “exterior cercano” de su país y Occidente. En lugar de centrar la atención en las tendencias geopolíticas más amplias –en particular, el efecto de la crisis financiera del período de 2007-2008 en la política mundial–, los comentaristas han estado convirtiendo la política del Kremlin en un psicodrama que sólo se puede entender mediante una exploración profunda del alma rusa. El resultado han sido ideas profundamente equivocadas sobre lo que impulsó el cambio de Putin de lo que parecía una posición modernizadora, conciliadora e incluso prooccidental en un revisionismo agresivo.

Se han ofrecido dos explicaciones deficientes de la política exterior actual de Rusia. La primera, propuesta por los autodenominados Putin-Versteher (“Simpatizantes de Putin”) de Alemania, es la de que la política rusa es una reacción lógica ante la estrategia de cerco por parte de Occidente. La expansión de la OTAN y la Unión Europea hacia el Este –sostienen– fue una provocación innecesaria. En realidad, nada menos que George Kennan, a quien se debió la estrategia de contención por parte de los Estados Unidos durante la Guerra Fría, se opuso a la ampliación de la OTAN en el decenio de 1990 con ese mismo argumento.

Esa teoría tiene unos límites evidentes. Para empezar, se basa en la afirmación de que, en la época de la caída del Muro de Berlín y la desintegración de la Unión Soviética, Occidente prometió que no habría una expansión de la OTAN. Incluso Mijail Gorbachev, en el 25º aniversario de la desaparición del Muro, acusó a Occidente de no haber cumplido las promesas hechas en 1989 y haberse “aprovechado del debilitamiento de Rusia” en el decenio de 1990 para reclamar “la dirección monopolista y la dominación del mundo”, entre otras cosas mediante la ampliación de la OTAN.

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